The German version of the strategic board game Star Wars - Rebellion from the Heidelberger Spieleverlag company was one of the most anticipated board games last year. Not without reason, because the original version of Fantasy Flight Games already received outstanding reviews. The tactical intricacies of such an extensive strategy game make it difficult for reviewers to form an opinion after just a few games. We have therefore fundamentally revised our board game review for Star Wars - Rebellion in order to do justice to the war tactical finesse. You can find our long-term impression in the following article. May the force be with you.
The last remnants of the Old Republic have been removed and the Empire wields its reign of terror over the galaxy. With its newest battle station, the Death Star, it is powerful enough to put down any form of resistance. But there is hope. A small band of rebels bravely rebel against the oppression. From their secret base, they plan to overthrow the empire and restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. Star Wars: Rebellion brings the epic conflict between Empire and Rebel Alliance to your gaming table. Become an Imperial General and send your forces to wipe out the secret rebel base. Or unite the brave freedom fighters and defeat your enemy with guerrilla tactics and sabotage. But to win the Star Wars, it takes more than just weapons and technological bogeymen - it takes heroes. In a secret mission you can train Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi or freeze it in carbonite with the help of Darth Vader Han Solo. Only in this way will you be able to achieve your goal and thwart the plans of your enemies! Will the Empire crush the rebellion in one swift blow? The fate of the galaxy is in your hands. (Source: product description)
Star Wars at it's best
Fans can tell at first glance that Star Wars - Rebellion plays at the time of the classic trilogy. The background frame is cleverly chosen, after all, the original trilogy is still considered the non-plus-ultra of the critical fan base. Another advantage are the iconic characters that are linked to the original Star Wars work and the expanded universe that is based on it. A Star Wars board game without an appearance by Emperor Palpatine is almost as unthinkable as a Han Solo without his loyal friend Chewbacca - even if the literary works of the expanded universe should prove the fans wrong. The author of the strategic board game, Corey Konieczka, relies on exactly those characters with which real Star Wars fans want to play, but which are at least partially known to beginners. After the sudden Carey Fisher dies Star Wars - Rebellion also a nice memory of the eternally young Princess Leia.
The well-known story serves as a direct transition to the game objectives. While the rebellion needs support from the population and tries to attract as many insurgents as possible to their side, the Galactic Empire has only one goal: the complete annihilation of the rebel scum. This is where the much-touted asynchronicity of Star Wars Rebellion* clearly noticeable for the first time. While the rebels operate in secret to increase their influence and thus increasingly rely on guerrilla tactics, the empire is openly seeking expansion. The more territories conquered by the Imperial Forces, the greater the chance of discovering and destroying the Rebel base - and thus winning the game.
The basic rules are less complex than it initially appears. The tactical subtleties only become noticeable with increasing experience of the players. By skillfully shifting military resources and using leaders to complete missions, movement in the galaxy comes far, far away.
The game material: thick cardboard and lots of plastic
The box, which weighs around two kilograms, contains a lot of game material, which is more than fair at a purchase price of around 80 euros. The heart of the strategic board game is the approximately one meter long game board, which consists of two parts. The appearance and workmanship of the playing area are excellent. The game board is made of solid cardboard and creates a dense Star Wars atmosphere. All play areas are sufficiently large so that an overview is always maintained even when many military units are distributed. Players take control of a total of 153 plastic miniatures, the two different colors of which serve as a distinguishing feature. In addition to death stars, star destroyers, corvettes, fighter pilots and laser batteries, ground troops for both sides are also included.
A total of 25 leaders must be placed on their feet and card types (tactic cards, mission cards, goal and project cards) must be laid out. The successes of the battles and missions are determined using five red and five black dice. The very first game begins with a fixed game structure, which introduces new players to the game concept in a shallow and clear manner without overwhelming them.
"It is a trap"
The distribution of the loyalty resources and military units is specified in the introductory game, so that players can first fully dedicate themselves to the course of the individual game phases, of which there are three main phases. Rebel players already get to know a tactical element at the beginning of the game, when they have to decide on the location of their rebel base using a search droid map. Relocations of the command post are secretly displayed later in the game in a separate area so that the imperial player does not get any insight into the stationing - after all, the aim of the game is to find the whereabouts of the rebels. And yes, it can be Alderaan too. Or Dantooine. Or any of the other planets on the board. The further the distance between the players, the more extensive the gaming experience, including in terms of time. Game rounds of over 240 exciting minutes weren't the rule during our game rounds, but they weren't uncommon either.
Each player round consists of three action phases: 1. Mission selection and determination of leaders, 2. Allocation of leaders to missions and unit movement, and 3. The mandatory refresher phase. It is immediately noticeable that it is above all the first two phases of action that give the players a clear tactical weight. at Star Wars - Rebellion there is plenty for the players to do. The later the game, the more overview is required when placing the units. At the same time, the strategic challenges in determining leaders and assigning them to their missions are also increasing. In addition, the tactic cards want to be used sensibly. At the beginning each player starts with only four leaders; more will be recruited as the game progresses. In addition to popular characters such as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, 2 to 4 players also take control of marginal characters that only die-hard fans know. This is great because it gives every player the opportunity to delve deeper into the Star War theme.
The game play with regard to the variability of each individual game is strikingly positive. No game round of Star Wars - Rebellion plays like the other. Due to the abundant number of missions, each game tells its own story and is clearly different. This increases the replayability of Star Wars - Rebellion enormous - not just because it's fun, but because it actually feels different every time. Emotions have always been a strength of Star Wars anyway, which was implemented perfectly in this strategic board game.
Strategy and experience are essential
With increasing gaming experience, not only does the playing time decrease to a tolerable level, but also the arbitrariness of the strategic approach. Beginners are confronted with endless possibilities at the beginning of their Imperial career or as cannon fodder for the Rebel Alliance. The course of the game becomes so complex that beginners rarely have enough time to play the four hours they are aiming for. Despite the long playing time Star Wars - Rebellion* Always exciting: characters are imprisoned and rescued, sabotage missions are carried out and fleet battles are rolled out. In particularly epic games, attacks on the Death Star are even flown - sometimes more, sometimes less successfully.
The combat system turned out to be one of the highlights of our review of the board game anyway Star Wars - Rebellion. Despite the use of a total of ten dice, fights do not feel entirely dependent on luck. This is primarily due to restrictive details that, for example, make it impossible for fast fighter spaceships to damage capital ships. At the same time, the cruisers' laser batteries are not particularly accurate against hunters. The complexity of a Star Wars Armada* or X-Wing achieve the natural fights just as little as the ground battles of one Imperial Assault*, for it is Star Wars - Rebellion but also a complete gaming experience, which should be understood more in the sense of a 4X game. However, players should not underestimate the tactical possibilities within combat actions: through the skillful use of tactic cards, battles always remain exciting. Also because there are those special moments when a foot soldier makes the impossible possible.
Despite or precisely because dice are in play, actions sometimes remain unpredictable, but this does not harm the course of the game. On the contrary: the noticeable happiness factor ensures a lot of excitement.
The game is played with 2 to 4 players, which is basically designed for classic 1-on-1 duels. With 4 players, on the other hand, two teams, each with a different command area, simply meet. The game with three people is even easier because the rebel games then always play alone and it is simply more often their turn to move. The most fun (and also the most time-efficient) is the classic 2-player game. Also because then the duel character emerges clearly.
Images of Star Wars Rebellion
Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Age: from 14 years
Playing time: 150 to 240 minutes
Long-term motivation: high
Author: Corey Konieczka
Year of publication: 2016
Cost: 80 Euro
Star Wars - Rebellion is the most complete of the current Star Wars board games. It does not bring any single component to the fore, but demands nothing less than the assumption of the entire chain of command from one of the two factions. Of course, players also make compromises for this. The miniatures are pretty, but not as detailed as the real miniature games. The tactical possibilities are terrific, but not as finely worked out as with the focused offshoots Star Wars Armada or Imperial Assault. While the balancing in Imperial Assault, for example, is so successful that the skills of the players decide whether to win or lose, experience and the internalization of the playing cards play a role Star Wars - Rebellion a much bigger role. Over time, players learn to respond to any game situation. Nevertheless, there is always enough room for decision-making for tactical actions. The assignment of the leaders to the missions should be chosen wisely, because otherwise the expansion on the board may be jeopardized. This is a medium catastrophe for the Imperial Forces, but it gives the rebels important time to build up their sympathy points. This can then be used to develop clever strategies for each of the factions.
While tacticians appreciate the many choices, fans will love the content-wise correspondence with the films. Even if, for example, grammar professional and Jedi master Yoda is not one of the playable leaders, he still makes his appearance in Star Wars - Rebellionif Luke can be trained as a Jedi. Memories of wonderful moments in film history are automatically awakened, which in turn arouse the emotions that the Star Wars thrives on.
The different ways of playing of the two factions either invite you to constantly switch sides or to optimize tactics. The imperial player needs a comparatively good memory in order to remember the planets that have already been explored. There are also map aids to print out - but real strategists are better off doing without such aids because these efforts are too Star Wars - Rebellion belong like the approach to the Death Star. Because experience ultimately decides whether to win or lose, it is essential for a fair duel to have two players with similar skills compete. Newcomers are often overrun by veterans because strategic interventions play an essential role Star Wars - Rebellion take in. Those who handle beginners cautiously and take the time to make strategic explanations will still get their money's worth - after all, young military personnel want to be involved. Star Wars Rebellion could be one of those board games that, because of its size and complexity, will last for generations. And without having to rely on constant waves of supplies. Even if the investment seems high at first, the purchase price is worth it - perhaps even more than with the focused Star Wars games.